Becoming a doctor is a lifelong ambition which most of the students nurture through their early years of their education. We all have ambitions to become doctors, engineers, IAS, Military, Bankers etc and studying medicine is one of them. Preparing yourself for medical exams like NEET, FMGE and now NExT is a difficult proposition if you are not so brilliant.
In our country or anywhere in the world a profession like doctor is a coveted one. This is because of the fact that it is not just highly paying but also due to the fact that it is a highly respected profession.
Doctors are venerated a lot. After all they are the life savers. Their place is next only to God in the society. People look up to them to save their near and dear ones. Thanks to this position they possess they are being paid handsomely too.
Doctors are much in demand in almost all parts of the world especially in third world countries like India where the health condition is bad. The demand and supply gap are wide. People in backward regions may not have seen doctors for months. The hospital’s conditions are pathetic.
As per record in 2017, the population of India is 1.33 billion. This huge population is served by 1.8 million registered medical graduates. The ratio is 1.34 doctor for 1000 Indian citizens in 2017. The World Health Organization recommends a standard ratio of 1:1000 doctor to population ratio. Data shows that only eleven states among the 28 states in India meet this requirement.
The outbreak of COVID 19 revealed the shortcomings of the Indian Health care. The WHO recommends 1 doctor, 2.5 nurses and 3.5 beds per 1000 population, while India has 0.65 doctors, 1.3 nurses, and 1,3 hospital beds per 1000 population. Although India has done a tremendous job in dealing with the pandemic.
The public health care system operates in the dismissal ratio of 0.08 doctors per 1000 people. Studies show that India is facing a shortage of 2 million doctors.
The high demand for doctors has resulted in the opening of more medical colleges.
As the government is unable to cope with the rising demand, private medical colleges have been opened to meet the growing demand. Yet the demand has not been met. Now the students opt to go abroad and study medicine or dentistry there.
Going abroad to study medicine is not new for a third world country like India Every other country takes pride in sending its talented students to developed nations to harness their potential.
The important fact is where they send their children for further education. Destination to the right place is critical for parents. Also, the fear of getting duped plays an important factor for parents. Right college, Right subject for specialization, Standard facilities, Scope and Placements, and above all the finance that includes college and hostel fees, plus cost of other amenities like food, books etc. scholarships, all play an important part while planning for the career.
How do you prepare for the medical exams?
Studying medicine is expensive nowadays especially if you score low in the entrance exams. In India, you can appear and get admission to medical colleges through a common entrance exam for medicine NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test).
About 16 lacs appear for this entrance exam to fulfil their dreams to become doctors. The total number of seats in India for medical colleges is only about 90,000. More than half of these seats are in government colleges while the rest are in private colleges.
To get into top medical colleges in India you must have a very good NEET score. These have quota systems like Government quota, management quota and NRI quota. Government quota is relatively cheaper than the Management and NRI quota which require high NEET Score and are very expensive.
What is the Cost of Getting Admission in Medical College?
It all depends on your NEET Score. High score means you get into a good medical college with a scholarship which reduces the financial burden. Less NEET score means you will get into a low-ranking medical college with no scholarship.
The fees for a MBBS degree in a government college in India range from Rs 20,000 to 7.5 lacs while in a private college it may range from Rs 20 lacs to 1.2 crores. All depends on your NEET score.
Top destination for medical students abroad and their fees
China, Russia and Ukraine account for 60% of the students who study medicine abroad. China accounts for the third of the total outflow followed by Russia and Ukraine. Other countries include Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Georgia, Armenia, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The main reason for thousands of students from India going abroad to these countries for further studies are
- Low Cost
- Less Competition
- Better Job opportunity to work in a European country
1. Low Cost
Pursuing MBBS is relatively cheaper in these countries than in India. The fees for the entire MBBS course which is typically of six years in these countries including living expenses and cost of coaching to clear the screening test on return to India would cost around Rs 35 lacs in a decent college in any one of these countries. It is Rs 18 lacs to 25 lacs in lesser-known colleges and just 11 lakhs to 13 lacs in the colleges in China where they teach a mix of Chinese and allopathic systems. The living expenses in these countries is around 1.5 lac to 2 lacs per annum that amounts to a total of Rs 9 lacs.
In India in comparison only the tuition fees for the MBBS course in a private medical college cost at least Rs 45 lakhs to Rs55 lacs for 4.5 years MBBS course. The management quota seats it is approximately around 30 lakhs to 70 lacs. For NRI quota the fees are approx. 90 lacs to 1.5 crores.
2. Less Competition
In India if you want to get a seat in a good medical college you must have an excellent NEET score. With a limited number of seats which are just 5% of the total number of students who appear for this entrance exam the going is going to be tough. In 2021 about 16 lacs applied for the NEET Exam and about 8.7 lacs cleared the NEET UG Exam.
Although the quality of students going abroad may be poor, they have very good reasons to study medicine. Almost 90% of these students who study abroad fail to clear the qualifying exams in India according to the Indian government.
3. Better Job opportunity to work in a European country
The students upon completing their MBBS from these countries can go for MS there and then get a job in a hospital in these European countries.
What is Foreign Medical Graduate examination (FMGE)?
Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) also known as medical council of India screening test is a licensure examination conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE) in India.
FMGE is one of the mandatory requirements for an Indian citizen who has a medical degree from a college outside India and wants to practice medicine in India. FMGE was introduced in India in 2002 as a qualifying examination for Indian students who have obtained their medical degrees from countries outside India.
What is FMGE Eligibility?
You must be clear about the eligibility criteria of the exam before you appear for it. Here are the eligibility criteria that you must fulfil.
- You must be an overseas citizen of India (OCI) or a Bona-fide citizen of India.
- You must possess a primary medical degree that is confirmed by the concerned Indian embassy. It is mandatory that your qualifications are recognized by the country where the institute is situated so that you can enroll as a medical practitioner.
- You will have to submit documents as proof to support your educational claims.
- Students who studied medicine from countries like the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada, are exempted from this exam as the universities of these countries are recognized by the MCI.
- Students from countries of the former Soviet Union, East European countries, China, Nepal, Philippines, and Caribbean countries are required to clear this exam.
FMGE is held twice a year. All the candidates are allowed three attempts to clear the exam. The difficulty level of FMGE is high and comparable to NEET-PG.
The National Medical Commission which replaced the Medical Council of India in 2020 released the draft regulations on FMGs that amends their requirements for screening tests. Starting from 2022, overseas graduates who intend to practice medicine in India will have to clear NExT within two years of completing their medical studies abroad. The draft regulation is expected to become official soon.
This is not all. After clearing MCI Exam, you are required to apply for an internship in an Indian medical college for a period of one year.
Why do we require Screening test for foreign students?
The FMGE or NExT screening test is extremely tough. It has a low pass percentage ranging from 14% to 20%. from year to year. The screening test is a kind of refinery to get better quality students. This is important also as all of them will serve the public in health care that is saving precious lives. It is alleged most of the students who study in these countries are of poor quality like the students of low-ranking medical colleges in India. The Indian govt. and the low pass percentage has only confirmed this allegation.
This screening test also reveals the shortcomings and poor quality of the training and research provided by the medical colleges abroad. These students are lured by the unethical consultants who charge exorbitant fees to place these students to these colleges. No doubt these students fail to clear the screening tests despite paying so much.
The licensing system assures that only deserving students get the license in India.
What is the future of Indian Medical Students from Abroad?
The career of Indian students who have completed an MBBS degree from abroad and want to settle in India depends on their screening test result.
Students from the US, UK, and other countries from the west are much better off as they do not have to take this screening test.
The new screening test prepared by the National Medical Commission; National Exit Test (NeXT) from 2022 is going to change all that. Now all the students who want to study in Indian Medical colleges after completing their MBBS from anywhere in the world will have to take NeXT for their PG.
It all depends on how serious you are while taking medicine as your career, especially abroad. Though the standard of education, infrastructure and facilities may be excellent abroad it all depends on how serious the student is.
Till 2018, anyone who have barely passed their 12 can get admission to these medical colleges abroad. But after 2018, the Indian government has made it compulsory for students to clear NEET and take admission abroad in medicine.
When you go abroad for further studies you face two things;
- You get into a good university and come up with flying colors.
- You get into a bad university and are trapped for 6 years after paying a huge amount.
So, your career in Medicine depends on you. Your choice of medical college and your ability to clear the screening test after returning from abroad after completing your MBBS.